Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura

Sikh-Tamil Nadu Collaboration for Freedom from Indian Rule

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 1998 (ID. 1998-09-02)
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OUTLINE

Editor's Note

Definition

1. Introduction

2. Sikh-Tamil Collaborations of the Past

3. Tamil Nadu Freedom Movement

4. Liberation Movements around India

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We published an article " AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS: Can Tamil Nadu be freed from Indian Rule?" [Reference 1] by Thanjai Nalankilli in the July 1998 issue of TAMIL TRIBUNE. After reading that article a Sikh reader, Mr. A. Goraya sent us some helpful comments, "A Sikh Perspective on Freedom for Tamil Nadu" [Reference 2]. The following is Mr. Nalankilli's response to Mr. Goraya's comments.)

DEFINITION

Hindians: People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).

1. Introduction

I agree with everything Mr. Goraya has said in his feedback to the article "Can Tamil Nadu be freed from Indian Rule?" (An exchange of views between R. Damodaran and Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 1998 [Reference 1]. It is a well thought-out feedback with much useful advice. Tamil activists should give due consideration to his suggestions. What touched me the most is the genuine concern this Sikh friend has shown for the well being of the people of Tamil Nadu. He is concerned that the people of Tamilnadu may go through the sufferings his people has to endure as the Indian government tries to put down their struggle for an independent Khalistan so brutally. I share his concern completely and I have no doubt that the Indian government, dominated and controlled by politicians from the Hindi heartland, will use force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Tripura or any other state from their rule.

The central government of India (the Indian government) collects taxes from all over the country and then allocates disproportionately large amounts of fiscal grants and industry/infrastructure development funds to the Hindi heartland. In other words, states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam, etc. are subsidizing the Hindi heartland of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, and some surrounding areas in northern India [Reference 3]. This is one reason why the Indian government, controlled by Hindi politicians irrespective of which party is in power and who the Prime Minister is, resists any attempt to give more fiscal autonomy to the states and brutally suppresses any attempts by states like Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Nagaland, etc. to free themselves from Indian rule.

2. Sikh-Tamil Collaborations of the Past

During the early 1980s there was an attempt to establish some collaboration and cooperation between Sikhs and Tamils in their respective struggle for freedom from Indian rule.

During the early 1980s when the great Sikh freedom fighter Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale was still alive, two of his representatives visited the office of the Tamil writer-poet-editor Perunchithiranar in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. This Perunchithiranar has championed the cause of a free Tamil Nadu through his speeches and his prolific writings since the late 1950s. Mr. Bhindranwale's representatives invited him to visit Punjab and give a series of speeches at various places in support of Khalistan. Perunchithiranar agreed. He was eager to visit Punjab and establish a liaison between Sikhs and Tamils. But, before the tour materialized, in 1984, the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sent the Indian army into the Amritsar Golden Temple and killed Mr. Bhinderwalle and many other freedom fighters during Operation Blue Star.

Perunchithiranar wrote and published some articles supporting the Sikh freedom struggle in Tamil magazines. I myself published a Tamil article "Sikh's Thirst for Freedom" in the Tamil magazine Tamil Nilam (March 1991). Perunchithiranar passed away in 1995.

3. Tamil Nadu Freedom Movement

People active in the Tamil Nadu Freedom Movement fall under the following three categories:

(1) A small fraction of Tamil nationalists who have formed underground armed groups such as the Tamil Nadu Viduthalai Padai (Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA)) and Tamil Nadu Retrieval Troops (TNRT).

(2) People who actively speak at public meetings and publish articles and pamphlets about freedom for Tamil Nadu. These activities mostly went surreptitious in the past few years because of the government banning such public meetings. Meetings are still held but without publicity in small groups. Pamphlets are also distributed in limited amounts in utmost secret without revealing the identity of authors and distributors.

(3) People who quietly support the cause of free Tamil Nadu. They contribute monetarily to organizations, groups and magazines that are active in the Tamil Nadu Freedom Movement. Though they do not speak at public meetings they impress on the need for a free Tamil Nadu to friends, neighbors and colleagues and bring to their attention those organizations and magazines that support a free Tamil Nadu. There are tens of thousands of such Tamils; some in high places. I know of Tamil Nationalists in the Indian Air Force and in the Indian Foreign Service. I know of lawyers, police constables, soldiers, movie actors/actresses, factory workers, housewives, students, school teachers and professors who believe that Tamil Nadu would be economically impoverished and its cultural identity destroyed if it is part of India for long. I, of course, know only a small percentage of Tamil Nationalists. The total numbers is difficult to estimate although I could definitely say that they are at least in the tens of thousands.

4. Liberation Movements around India

There are liberation movements in Assam (Asom), Kashmir, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, and possibly a few other areas. These movements seek to free their respective states from Indian rule and establish free, independent countries of their own (in the same way as Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and other states of the former Soviet Union became independent countries).

Each of these liberation movements should continue with their activities individually and in cooperation whenever possible. There is strength in cooperation between our liberation movements. Unlike in the past, we should come to the aid of each other. When there is a massacre by Indian troops in Assam or Punjab or Kashmir or wherever, Tamils should protest and speak up against it. Unfortunately it was not done in the past. When dozens of unarmed Tamils were shot and killed by Indian security forces within a two-week period during the 1965 Anti-Hindi Agitation, very few states spoke up against it. When the Indian security forces unleashed a wave of human rights abuses and murdered innocent people in Punjab, the rest of India (including my own people-the Tamils) looked the other way because it was not their blood that was spilled. Not a single word of condemnation, not a single word of protest. This should change.

We should establish contact and collaboration at all level - freedom fighters to freedom fighters, political activists to political activists, human rights groups to human rights groups, student groups to student groups, writers to writers, lobbyists to lobbyists within India and in whichever country we are living.

Let us unite in our freedom struggle against our common oppressor - the Indian government controlled by politicians from the Hindi heartland. There is strength in cooperation. Hindi speakers do not have the strength the fight the combined effort of us all. Now Hindi politicians send Sikhs, Tamils, Malayalis, et al. to fight Kashmiris. They send Assamese, Sikhs, Telugus and Maharashtians to fight Tamils; Tamils and Sikhs to fight Assamese, etc. Tamils may have different reasons to free themselves from the Indian rule, but, remember, our common enemy is the same - the Indian government controlled by politicians from the Hindi heartland. A South Indian could be the Prime Minister, a Sikh could be the President but they are controlled by the Hindi politicians and they hold power at their mercy. If the Prime Minister does anything that the Hindi politicians consider detrimental to the dominance of Hindi heartland, they will be removed from power. As stated earlier in this article, Hindi politicians effectively control the Indian Central Government because they are the largest voting block and there are always Tamil, Sikh and other non-Hindi politicians to go along with the Hindi power center for whatever reason [Reference 4]. With our combined and concerted efforts we can liberate our individual lands from Indian rule with much less suffering.

Divided we vanquish!
United we flourish!

REFERENCES

1. AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS: Can Tamil Nadu be freed from Indian Rule? (NO: R. Damodaran YES: Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 1998

2. A Sikh Perspective on Freedom for Tamil Nadu (by A. Goraya), TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 1998

3. Economy

4. "Who Rules India?", (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2000

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